On Sunday, October 22, more than 100 Family Promise Union County volunteers and graduate guests of the Family Promise-Union County shelter program came together to celebrate their successes. Over lunch at the Grand Summit Hotel, former guests thanked their volunteer hosts for providing them home-cooked meals, safe places to sleep, listening ears, and non-judgmental advice and conversation as they journeyed through homelessness with their families.
The mood of the room was filled with joy as volunteers and former guests reunited with hugs and looked on with amazement at how fast the children have grown. Each volunteer received a hand-made potholder, lovingly made by guests in the shelter program as a tangible “thank you” gift. The afternoon program included a light-hearted game of Family Promise trivia.
One of the highlights of the celebration was the opportunity to publicly acknowledge the support of Faith Lutheran Church with “The Pastor Mac Award.” Pastor Murdoch MacPherson, who passed away earlier this year, has been described as a “lion of faith” and was at the heart of the founding and continuation of Family Promise. This award was given in his memory.
We also had the honor of celebrating two “Power of One” award recipients. Shonda Brooks received a “Power of One” award for her extraordinary commitment to the families we serve through her Need2Read literacy program. Dr. Christina Johnson also received a “Power of One” award in thanks for her tireless work with the Family Wellness Program, which has brought physicians from Overlook Family Medicine to our families on a weekly basis and to our community in Elizabeth, NJ twice annually for our Community Health Fair.
“Thank you” never seems like a big enough word for the many hundreds and thousands of Family Promise volunteers who together help their neighbors achieve sustainable independence. Our gratitude runs deep for the incredible gift of our volunteers.